Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Nice Recovery Jog

We were supposed to do MF loops x7. But my legs were still tired. So Jimmy and I ran at a very chatty leisure pace and yakked all the way, exchanging stories about TNF race. We did 3x MF loops, and headed down Morse Rd towards Harbour Front and back to club. The pace felt almost like my TNF race pace! Haha.

Ah, a slow enjoyable no pressure jog. We ended just as my knee began to feel painful. Ok, have to take care of those legs since I have another trail marathon coming up next week! Suddenly the date seemed too close for comfort. *eeeks*

Monday, October 26, 2009

And.... Go!

Late for class. Coach asked if my legs were ok to swim, and advised me to do some breast stroke kicks for a start. For a moment, I thought my calves were going to cramp.

500m - 12:41min (trailing far behind in Lane 2)
400m - 10:20min (voluntarily switched to Lane 1, whew!)
300m - 7:46min
200m - 5:11
100m - 2:27
200m - 5:13
300m - 7:55 (by this point, 3 of our Lane 2 swimmers had crossed over to Lane 1! Life in Lane 2 was too breathless, leaving only 3 swimmers there. Oops.)

1 - forgot to time
2 - 1:06
3 - 1:04
4 - 1:08
5 - 1:07
6 - 1:03

There were 3 waves per lane, x 6 sprints. Coach must have shouted "And.... Go!" at least 18x within 10min! Nightmare.... Good night everyone!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

I Love Trails

I recall a friend sharing with me his 'wisdom' of cycling on both road and off-road. He said that mountain-biking gave him confidence in bike handling on the road, while road cycling boosted his cardio in the trails. Yesterday I found that insight coming true for me after the TNF 100 race.

My dear friend, Linda's, comment in response to my win, 'you really enjoy doing this right?' set me thinking. I guess as opposed to chugging in the open sea and gulping salt water? Yes, I would much prefer to be cruising across the open fields and jumping over rocks. The more I explore, the happier I get.

I love the mountains & trails, and I like long long runs. Putting the two together for trail ultras seems a natural step to take. So I am slow in road races, but the runs give me a strong cardio base, and I can endure. Afterall, one cannot really go too fast in the trails. I trek and climb, so footwork is not an issue. As a climbing friend puts it, trail involves a certain sense of balance of knowing where to put one's foot, transfer our body weight, and the confidence to go. That is something that the road does not train us for. That said, of course there are many outstanding road runners who do well in the trails too.

But perhaps the greatest difference lies in the mindset. I guess I approach trail running with the same attitude as climbing. One has to appreciate the nature, and meld with it. Expect the unexpected and learn to enjoy and deal with it. No trail is alike on any two runs - fallen branches, rearranged rocks, and mud pools. Enjoying the stones and puddles and that sense of exploration keeps one happy and sane on the run. Sure, there are parts where we curse the terrain and wonder why we ever paid to torture ourselves. But there is also a sense that it is pointless to grouse because nature is not going to budge. There is no bailout option either, especially if one is in the middle of nowhere nor near any evacuation point. Unlike a road run where life is a lot easier and comfortable. Sit down, report position, and a vehicle will pull up.

Looking at my experience with runs, I have a much better track record in ultras than normal runs. Especially trails. 3 out of 4 within the recorded rankings, of which 2 were trails. Perhaps I should just stick to what excites and fascinates me. :)

Saturday, October 24, 2009

TNF 100 (24 Oct 2009)

Julie and I teamed up for the TNF 100 today - Women's 100k duo. Pleasantly surprised to come in 2nd, when we were just aiming to complete. We even sliced almost 1hr off our target time! I think it was a classic case of heavens, people, time and stars aligned. :)

Photos- http://picasaweb.google.com/simsps/TNF10024Oct2009#

Position : 2 Team: CHILLI PADI Total Timing: 13:08:04.22
Tag No Name Team Timing Pos
2030-1 Julie Ong CHILLI PADI 06:29:02.31 004
2030-2 Sim Phei Sunn CHILLI PADI 06:39:01.91 005

The flag off was 7am. We started in the middle and ran at a steady pace. For the first 30km, we were consistently ~1:15+h per 10k. And then I started to slow down, and tried to avert abductor cramps.

Start - BT water & time checkpoint: 1:18h (after drinks)
To 20k mark: 1:11h (2:30h)
To 30k mark: 1:17h (3:47h)
To 40k mark: 1:24h (5:12h)
To End: 1:25h (6:39h)

The run was along familiar training routes, except for the Mandai/ Lor Asmara section. That was the army training grounds, and oh gosh, was it really tough. The area was typically closed to public, so we had no inkling of what the route was like. The slopes were long, steep and never-ending rolling. One passed and another loomed. The worst was a section called Hill 265. It was literally a 60-70deg red mud slope. Even as we trudged up, we had to pull on roots and anything in order not to slide backwards. I could imagine soliders in full battle packs chiong-ing up the hill. Whew! At that point, I had utmost respect for the 100k runners, who had to pass through that area twice. I could not wait to get out of the place!

I generally felt good, in high spirits. My legs were surprisingly fresh, possibly the result of a long break and few runs. But cramps set in along Rifle Range Road, around 5h+. :( I spent a good 10min walking, finding my Nuun tablets to suck on, and fishing for my muscle rub to smear all over my knee. The last 20k was a lot slower than my 30k, with a lot of walking.

Since we did not see any female runners ahead of us, we should have a good chance of a podium placing. Indeed, we came in 2nd with a combined time of 13:08h. The 1st team's timing was 15min ahead - 12:53h. Hmmm.... that meant we were about 7-8min each behind them. Wow, that was close!

I just realised that all my winnings came from ultra runs. Of the 4 ultras that I had ran, I managed to get a prize or placing for 3 of them, and of which 2 were trail events. Hmmm...! Maybe I should switch 'vocation' and do more trails or ultras. Haha.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Sauna Class

Thursday Lane 1 1st swimmer. There were so few swimmers in class today. The pool was so so very warm, I felt my palms heating up as I swam. Gosh. And even during dinner after the class, my palms and fingers still had that heated tingling sensation. It was terribly hot.

Medley drills. Again.

100m - 2:19min
200m - 4:57
300m - 7:27
300m - 7:33
400m - 10:12
300m - 7:37
200m - 5:06

50m easy - 1:07
50m sprint - 1:05 (haha, not much difference)
50m easy - 1:21
50m sprint - 1:03
50m easy - 1:23
50m sprint - 57s (whew, finally! my first sub-1min since I came back from my climb)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Queenstown Track Intervals

Training menu: 5x 800m, 7min per set incl rest. It was quite a luxury actually to have such a long rest time.

I had not done track intervals for a long time, let's see, since August? Was apprehensive if I could complete them tonight. But I did, and in decent timings too. :)

1- 3:31min
2- 3:32min
3- 3:32min
4- 3:27min
5- 3:25min

Meanwhile, Alber & WH were practising for their Beer Mile run post-Busselton. 4x cans of beer, 4x 400m. Drink a can, run a round. It was ridiculously hilarious.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Post-OWS Class

Aching heavy arms tonight. Oh gosh. Recovery class didn't quite feel like recovery. After some medley strokes drills, Coach had us swim laps. Many sets. I was like half a lap behind the 'new' guys in my lane. Oh lane 2 swimmers, where's everyone?!?

100m - 2:17min
200m - 4:52
300m - 7:20
400m - 10:28
300m - 7:37
200m - 5:06
100m - 2:25

4x 50m sprints - 1:03/ 1:07/ 1:04/ 1:05


Sunday, October 18, 2009

Yellowfish OWS

Today was the day I tried on the wetsuit in an open water sea swim. Coach organized the Open Water Swim (OWS) this morning. All of us doing Busso registered for the 4km swim, and most of us showed up in rubber.

The route was 8x 500m loops, with a short segment running on the beach and re-entering the water so that the volunteers could record our times. Cut-off was 2:20h.

So could not make it. The wetsuit aided buoyancy, but not speed. At least not for me. I mentally endured 6 loops, but it was already 2h. Not enough time to complete another 1km by the cut-off. :( Each loop got slower and slower. I was a good 15min slower than my usual 1.5km in the pool!

Oh dear, panic.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Last Recee Run

We tried the route from Rifle Range to BT to Mandai today. The last section of the TNF route that was most unfamiliar to me. Ran from home to RR Road to meet the other runners. It was a leisurely slow run, with lots of stop-walk in between. Total distance about 20km. Took a bus home after the run. Finished all my 1L of water, sucked totally dry until I got the air...

It was a good run at a nice pace. Looking forward the the full 50km race next week.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Rubber Seal Wetsuit

Tried on my wetsuit in swim class tonight. I felt like a rubber seal, blubbering around. Bouyancy was good, but after so many drills and laps, my arms ached. It was hot though under that insulation. It was weird jumping into the water and not feeling the water against my skin!

Wetsuits are not designed for slow drills, like catch-up drills. There was another drill where coach asked us to deliberately go slowly and 'sink'. How to?

We swam a couple of 50m. Consistently ~ 1:04min
400m - 9:35min
400m - 9:10min
300m - 7:20min
300m - 7:20min

Then some 50m sprints. Again consistently ~ 1:01 - 1:03min.

Oh aching arms....

400m - 9:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

MF 14km Run

Route was 14km down Depot Rd, Alexandra, HarbourFront and then the usual MF 10km loop. Wore my mizuno for the run this evening. Felt different obviously from my Asics. Run was ok initially, then overtaken by some guys. But I overtook them again up the MF slope. Legs surprisingly could ascend decently after Tuesday's intervals. I took my time to slowly wind down Morse Road - save the knees! Then took my leisurely pace to enjoy the run. It did not feel like 14km. Time clocked 1:15h.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Labrador Hills by the Minute

I was accustomed to the slow pace and counting time by the hour in the mountain. Today at Labrador Hill, everything was fast, chiong, by the minute. Oh what a culture 'readjustment'. Menu for the night was 7 rounds in 1hr.

Improved by a grand total of 1 min....
Loop times- 7:38, 8:00, 8:15, 8:24, 8:20, 8:22, 8:01 = 57:03 min


Monday, October 12, 2009

Swim & Float

My first swim after a 3-week break from the pool. Coach was very lenient and nice tonight. Swim at my own pace.

Drills. Then swim.

350m - 8:38min
400m - 9:48min
300m - 7:31
250m - 6:23
200m - 5:02
100m - 2:29, 2:32, 2:36, 2:34
50m - 1:04, 1:07

Oh dear, still can float.....

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Short short ride

While my other IM friends are out doing their long long rides, I was content with a much discounted ride. Not that I didn't plan on riding, but the bed was simply too alluring. Afterall, I haven't been spending much time on it. :)

So the alarm went off and I was oblivious to it. In the end, we went out to ride the Mandai loop. After 1 round, I was utterly bored. It seemed so tedious just to ride an hour. But in the mountain, it took only a few steps and an hour would have passed. Oops.

Bored, decided to stop. Called friends and they were riding nearby. So the most logical thing to do was to meet for lunch! :)

What a slacking weekend......

Saturday, October 10, 2009

MR No-breath Jog

Home sweet home finally after the Mt Chola climb.

Headed to MR this morning for a run. Omg, could not breathe for the first 10min. It was like sucking oxygen through a wet face mask. So humid! I gave up and walked along. All body systems were still shut down. Told the guys to go ahead.

Met George & co at the ranger station and ran with them. We were caught by the sudden torrential downpour, which surprisingly cleared the humid air and I could breathe properly again!

A day of extremes. From 6000m to 0 altitude. From 0 humidity to 100%. From sub-0 temperatures to high 30. And from knee deep snow to ankle deep rain. Gosh.